How to Take Care of a Cocker Spaniel

By Britt Kascjak

Cocker Spaniels are kind and adaptable dogs, making them a great choice for first-time owners.

But, before you bring a new Cocker Spaniel into the house you should be familiar with that breed’s needs. For example, your Cocker Spaniel may need specific food or more exercise.

In this guide, we’re specifically going to look at the Cocker Spaniel.

Are you ready to introduce this lively little dog into your family? Let’s look at what your new Cocker Spaniel will need to be both happy and healthy!


Cocker Spaniels are lively and playful dogs. But they aren’t excessive with their exercise needs.

This is a breed that can thrive in a city setting as long as they are given at least one hour of exercise each day. This includes walks, dog park visits, and playtime at home.

They also love mental challenges and stimulation. Training sessions and food puzzles are great ways to burn some energy.

If you are struggling to keep up with your Cocker Spaniel’s energy levels, you may wish to try agility. 


Another important point to consider is what you plan on feeding your Cocker Spaniel (and how much).

Cocker Spaniels are prone to obesity.

Obesity introduces many serious health risks including an increased risk of:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Hypertension
  • Osteoarthritis

Choose a high-quality dog food and pay careful attention to the recommended serving size. Don’t forget to consider the calories in any treats you offer.

If you notice your Cocker Spaniel is gaining weight, cut the food back slightly.

In the event that limiting food and increasing exercise doesn’t help, contact your veterinarian.


This is a breed that is eager to please and thrives on positive or reward-based training methods.

They are sociable and want to greet everyone when out and about. But, with proper socialization at a young age, they can learn to be polite and friendly to those that they meet.

But, a Cocker Spaniel that hasn’t been socialized can be fearful or even aggressive.

The biggest challenge faced by most Cocker Spaniel owners is their tendency to struggle with separation anxiety.

You will need to spend time desensitizing your Cocker Spaniel to being left alone.

Start with short periods of time. For example, you may take a drive around the block before returning home.

As your new Cocker Spaniel learns that you’ll always come home,  you can start increasing that time. Meet a friend for coffee or go out and do your grocery shopping.

This process will help to ease your Cocker Spaniel’s anxiety which is better for both you and your dog!


One of the biggest needs that you will need to address with a Cocker Spaniel is grooming.

You will need to make time to brush your Cocker Spaniel every day. Cocker Spaniels have beautiful long coats that can tangle or mat if not cared for properly.

Not only does matting look bad, but it can also be very painful for your dog.

While your Cocker Spaniel won’t need constant bathing, a semi-regular bath will help to keep the coat clean and fresh.

This breed is also prone to ear infections in their floppy ears. Regularly cleaning your Cocker Spaniel’s ears with an approved dog-friendly ear cleaner is essential. If you have never cleaned your Cocker Spaniel’s ears before, see your vet for instructions on how to best do so.

Proper cleaning will go a long way in preventing ear infections and irritation.

Photo of author
Britt Kascjak
Britt Kascjak has been active in the animal rescue community for over 15 years, volunteering, fostering, and advocating for organizations across Canada and the US. Her ‘pack’ includes her husband John, their 3 dogs – Daviana, Indiana, and Lucifer – and their 2 cats – Pippen and Jinx.